Protect Your Back During Yoga

yogaYoga, much like any other exercise, can be both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because it’s an exercise that strengthens and stretches your body, helping you to focus on your health; however, it’s a curse because if you’re not careful it can become the source of your back pain. Here are some tips to help keep back pain away as you practice yoga.

How Yoga Can Cause Back Pain

Yoga has a form to it, and if you attempt a pose without the proper form then it can lead to injury. Most injuries from yoga are minor, such as strains and sprains. Some more serious injuries can occur while practicing yoga, such as:

  • Fractures
  • Bone spurs
  • Sciatic nerve damage
  • Dislocations
  • Stroke (in rare instances)

To be fair, you can injure yourself simply walking down the street, but if you’re really committed to doing your best yoga pose, then pay attention to your form. This is because most of the injuries sustained from yoga are a culmination of years of yoga practice and they develop gradually over time. You need to avoid overdoing it and also listen to your body to know if something isn’t right. Also, pay attention to your back. Quite often when people sustain injuries to their back while practicing yoga it’s the result of rounding your spine in poses where you shouldn’t be, such as downward dog. Rounding will cause your spine to flex in the wrong direction during the pose, which can damage the discs in your back.

How to Avoid Yoga Injuries to Your Back

Since rounding the back in certain poses seems to be the cause of many back injuries from yoga, when you’re practicing you need to follow a couple of tips. Before you bend you need to imagine lengthening your spine away from your hips and up – you don’t want to round your hips either. If you find you can’t do the pose without rounding, it’s OK to bend your knees a bit. Just know that working on stretching out your hamstrings should be a priority so you can do the pose right.

Also, if you have difficulty not rounding your back in seated poses that fold your upper body forward, you should try sitting on a block or a blanket to help take some of the pressure off your lower back.

If you’re experiencing back pain and you think yoga may be to blame, talk to your chiropractor about it. They can evaluate the cause of your back pain and help you figure out what is going wrong so you can avoid it in the future!

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Yoga 1 by Jennifer Firmenich is licensed under CC BY 4.0

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.